Simeoni: Pozzato got just deserts
Tuesday, February 22, 2005 12.00am
Filippo Simeoni has reacted unsympathetically to news of Filippo Pozzato's 3,000-euro fine for his r
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Filippo Simeoni on Tuesday unequivocally welcomed the Italian Cycling Federation's (FCI) decision to fine Quick Step's Filippo Pozzato 3,000 euros for insulting him during stage 18 of last year's Tour de France. The sanction, Simeoni told procycling, sent out an "important signal to young riders" and represented the "right verdict". Pozzato and T-Mobile's Giuseppe Guerini had been called to appear before the FCI's disciplinary commission on Monday. Simeoni claimed last August that Pozzato told him he had "deserved" to be chased down by Lance Armstrong on stage 18 of the Tour and that he was "an idiot". Simeoni alleged that Guerini was also among several Italian riders who had insulted him. The T-Mobile rider, in contrast to Pozzato, received only a "censure" from the disciplinary committee, their closest equivalent to a sharp slap on the wrist. "Guerini called me a few days ago to apologise," Simeoni, now riding for the lowly Naturino-Sapore di Mare team, explained. "He said that he had reacted impulsively, as you do in the heat of the moment during a race. I was satisfied enough to send the FCI a letter referring Guerini's comments to me and asking them to be lenient. That's almost certainly why he received no fine. "Pozzato, on the other hand, has never made any attempt to apologise. He still thinks that he was right," Simeoni continued. "It saddens me that a young, talented rider like him rejects my example - the example of someone who has admitted their mistakes and spoken out against doping. If things have changed for the emerging generation, then it is in part thanks to people like me who have broken the wall of silence." Of the other riders who allegedly either goaded or berated Simeoni, Andrea Peron and Daniele Nardello managed to escape the FCI's summons. Nardello is said to have called Simeoni "a disgrace" and accused him of "spitting in the soup". Like his T-Mobile team-mate Guerini, Nardello has edged towards a reconciliation, although Simeoni continues to nourish mixed feelings towards him. "We rode together in the national team in Verona last year," Simeoni said. "He said that he wanted to resolve our disagreement. But Nardello's were the words which hurt me most. There is a dialogue now, at least, but he still denies having said certain things." Simeoni's most famous feud of all, with Armstrong himself, is due to enter its next bitter chapter in the coming days. According to Simeoni, the judge presiding over the case which he brought against the Texan for allegedly branding him an "absolute liar" in a 2003 interview is "days away" from delivering his verdict. Simeoni is demanding damages of 100,000 euros for "defamation of character".
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